Michael Savarin
Michael Savarin

Dominica's private sector is strategizing ways to acquire US$400 million to drive the country's low carbon, climate-resilient projects.

This was among the aims of an initial meeting between the Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce, DAIC, the Ministry of Planning, Climate Resilience and Renewable Energy, and the Green Globe Institute (GGI).

Dominica is one of a multitude of countries that signed on to the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change, hence agreeing to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In order for this to be successful, funding is key. To this end, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) was created to provide monetary assistance.

National programme coordinator within the Ministry of Climate Resilience and focal point for the GCF, Michael Savarin, told The Sun the transition to a low carbon economy is "something that delivers better living standards and is sustainable to people,"

Reiterating the importance of finance for these projects, Savarin said: "We are developing a number of new climate finance instruments to give capacity to the private sector to take opportunities in low carbon investments."

Currently, there are three major projects in the works, the first being a national financing vehicle. Monies from this will be used to fund a number of national policy instruments.

"We are looking to get at least 400 million US dollars in the vehicle and more. We have the national resilience development strategy, the climate resilience recovery plan, etc. All of these low carbon, climate resilience policy documents which the government has produced, the national financing vehicle is to facilitate achieving the objectives," Savarin said.

The second pivotal project is the creation of green bonds an alternative means of investment for the private sector. The Jamaica Stock Exchange is being engaged in this project with the goal of having the local private sector follow suit.

"We intend to have the Jamaican stock exchangers come to Dominica to inform local private sector how to make green bond issues, this would make financing more flexible for the private sector," Savarin said.

The third key area is the transition to a low-carbon transport project. This transformative move to low-carbon electric vehicles will not only include cars but will incorporate vessels like ships. During the inaugural meeting to discuss moving forward under the GGI, the private sector was reassured that investment opportunities lie in this area of low carbon transport.

Dominica has already received funding via GCF for some of its other go-green projects.

"The green climate fund via the IDB CDB is providing US$46 million as part of that geothermal development process," Savarin explained. "So we have already been allocated that funding by the green climate fund but it is via the IDB CDB."

Apart from these signature projects, several documents are being prepared for submission to, and subsequent approval by, the GCF.

"We intend to submit seven full proposals to the GCF towards the end of 2023, really transformative projects on a range of sectors," Savarin said.

As regards deadlines for this project the GCF is currently in period one and then moves into period two.

"GCF period one is up to 2023 so that is where our focus is right now, trying to get seven projects approved," Savarin said.

He stressed that these active engagements are being steadily pursued and are very transformative projects, therefore "we are focused on meeting our targets and our various partners; the local private sector, the NGOs are very key in that process."

These intense engagements will bring forth a series of novel financial instruments to the private sector which will eventually become available to regional and international private sectors.